Health care leaders broke months of silence about the state’s talks to come up with a new Medicare waiver plan, and in the process exposed a riff between hospitals and state officials.
Top health officials told the state Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Jan. 22 that they want to update Maryland’s Medicare waiver — a policy used to regulate hospital rates — in a way that would change the way hospitals are held accountable for costs and open the door for systemic change to Maryland’s entire health industry. The plan has been in the works for months, and now officials hope to submit a proposal to the federal government within the next several weeks. Meanwhile, key stakeholders — hospital leaders — painted a picture of failed collaboration. They told the committee they have been excluded from the state’s negotiations with the feds and are worried the breadth of the state’s plan could jeopardize hospitals’ financial stability.
“This is very, very thoughtful and important work. But they know and we know there is more to this than an academic exercise,” said Carmela Coyle, CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association. “It’s going to be hospitals and insurance companies that have the business of making this work at the end of the day.”